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Business – Dainik Bhaskar, Travel Channel get FIPB nod

Ashish Sinha

A proposal from the Dainik Bhaskar media group to allow more foreign equity in it and another one from Travel Channel International, UK, for setting up an Indian subsidiary, have been approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

As a result, DB Corp Ltd (DBCL), the holding company of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, would be able to increase foreign shareholding in itself from 7.14 per cent to 26 per cent. Also, Synergy Media, the radio arm of the group, would also be able to increase foreign shareholding from the existing 7.1 per cent to 17.9 per cent. The cap on foreign investments in print media is 26 per cent, while that in an FM radio company is 20 per cent.

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International foreign equity company Warburg Pincus holds 7.14 per cent in DB Corp and 7.12 per cent in Synergy Media through its affiliate, Cliffrose Investment Ltd, a Mauritius-based company. It is not clear if Cliffrose Investments will increase stake in both DB Corp and Synergy Media.

Company sources said the increase in foreign shareholding in both DB Corp and Synergy Media would be done by launching an initial public offer in the equity shares of DBCL, the details of which will be notified to the government at a later date.

DB Corp has told the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) that it proposes sale of up to 24,781,190 equity shares of a face value of Rs 10 each. The issue is for approximately 13.65 per cent of the post-issue capital of DB Corp.

The Dainik Bhaskar Group runs a successful Hindi newspaper (Dainik Bhaskar) across several states, while Synergy Media operates a network of 17 private FM radio stations under the brand name, My FM.

The FIPB has also given its nod to Travel Channel International (TIC), a leading broadcaster of travel programming across the globe, to set up a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary. As a result, TIC would set up its Indian arm with initial foreign investments of Rs 4.2 crore. This move will lead to the presence of Travel Channel in India, likely to compete with broadcasters like Discovery India, National Geographic and NDTV Goodtimes, among others. The lifestyle and travel genre of broadcasting in India is estimated to be a Rs 80 crore market and growing in high double-digits, sources said.

TCI is owned by US-based Cox Communications, a company with diverse business interests, including digital cable, manufacturing and distribution of digital set top boxes, digital telephones (internet telephone), and high speed internet. With an India entry, the company may look at expanding in other areas as well, an independent media consultant said.

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October 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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